Resorts World Manila tragedy causes Philippine Government crackdown on problem gambling

  • Philippine officials looking to take a more hands-on approach to problem gambling
  • Casino exclusions need to be taken much more seriously, the PAGCOR believes

The tragedy that took place on June 2 at the Resorts World Manila Casino, when a lone gunman caused the deaths of 37 people, before taking his own life, has shocked the country and the world.

The unfortunate event attracted a lot of attention from the media and the Philippines’ officials, who are now looking to take an even more serious approach to problem gambling issues.pagcor crackdown problem gambling

Effective ways of dealing with problem gamblers

The man who attacked the casino, unsuccessfully trying to rob the gaming tables, was identified as Jessie Javier Carlos. In the investigation that followed, it was revealed that Carlos, who took his own life after his plans failed, was a problem gambler himself, dealing with debts and personal issues.

Furthermore, Carlos was under the Player Exclusion Order issued by the PAGCOR (Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation) at the request of his family member(s). Namely, in the Philippines, people can request a self-exclusion themselves, but the PAGCOR also accepts and reviews petitions from family members.

In light of this discovery one of the question has become how was the shooter able to enter the casino without raising any red flags, given the exclusion order? And, while this matter is further investigated, the PAGCOR and Philippine officials are looking to improve the system to prevent these types of tragedy from ever happening again.

More hands-on approach

Andrea Domingo, PAGCOR CEO and chairperson, has announced that the organization will be looking to take a more direct approach in dealing with problem gamblers whose name is on the exclusion list. Stricter controls and a more vigorous approach to actually implementing bans for problem gamblers across the country are in the works.

Currently, the exclusion list contains more than 400 names, about half of which are people who asked to be banned themselves. These people have recognized they had a problem and asked the PAGCOR to help them by preventing them from entering the casinos in the country. The other half are mostly those who were placed on the list by their family members like Carlos, whose gambling cost him his job and left him $81,000 in debt, eventually leading to the Resorts World Manila tragedy.

The self-exclusion rules in the Philippines are quite different from those in the US, as there is no one central registry of problem gamblers in the States. Furthermore, no one else can place a player on the self-exclusion list. However, the Philippines have been taking a more serious approach to problem gambling, and the recent events have only confirmed the government officials’ and PAGCOR position.

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